Dhaka is going to be cut off from the rest of the country as the government has imposed lockdowns on seven adjacent districts to curb community transmission of the Covid-19 virus.
The new lockdown has been imposed in Manikganj, Narayanganj, Gazipur, Munshiganj, Madaripur, Rajbari and Gopalganj districts.
Long-distance buses will not run from Dhaka during the nine days of lockdown as vehicles ply the routes through those districts.
After a cabinet meeting on Monday, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam announced that the lockdown will start from 6am Tuesday and continue till 30 June in the districts.
The government has come up with such a measure on Monday as the fear of the third Covid-19 wave has arisen in the wake of a consistent surge in infections and deaths from the disease, especially in the bordering districts.
Only emergency services, including agricultural goods, food transport, relief, vaccine, electricity, internet, water, gas, fire service, port-related activity, telephone, media, security service, posts, etc will remain out of the purview of restrictions during the lockdown.
Vehicles from Dhaka bound for south and south-western districts run through Manikganj; those to Chattogram and Sylhet go through the border of Narayanganj; and for Mymensingh and northern region buses pass through Gazipur. Besides, many vehicles go to various destinations via Munshiganj.
All trains from Dhaka to Narayanganj will remain closed but long-distance trains will run as usual. However, there will be no trains in the districts where restrictions have been imposed, said Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan.
The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority on Monday evening issued a circular stating that all types of passenger traffic from Dhaka to Munshiganj, Narayanganj, Chandpur, Naria, Shimulia, Banglabazar, Shariatpur, Madaripur, Rajbari and Manikganj will be suspended. Besides, passenger launches leaving from anywhere in the country will not be allowed to anchor the ghats of these districts.
According to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, garment factories in Gazipur and Narayanganj will be exempted from the lockdown restrictions.
Prof Nazrul Islam, noted virologist and member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, said lockdown without testing, contract tracing, patient isolation and proper treatment will not improve the situation.
"The ongoing lockdown is not working anymore as the authorities have failed to ramp up tests and contract tracing. Patients are not being treated properly. District hospitals do not have ICUs and central oxygen lines," he added.
Meanwhile, the positivity rates were 3.45% in Dhaka city and 5.01% in Dhaka division on 7 June, but those rose to 11.73% and 14.14% respectively in the last 24 hours after growing for the past two weeks. The positivity rates were 43.93% in Faridpur, 42.45% in Gopalganj, 42.85% in Tangail.
Positivity rate was 40.04% in Khulna Division, 38.94% in Rangpur, 30.43% in Shariatpur, 24.14% in Rajshahi, 19.90% in Kishoreganj, 17.39% in Munshiganj, 16.87% in Chattogram and 13.18% in Sylhet in the last 24 hours, according to the latest data of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
As per the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, districts with an infection rate of 10% and above are considered "high risk" zones, while those with 5-9% "medium risk" zones and the risk is low when the infection rate is below 5%.
Lockdown is prevailing in 10 more districts as the Covid-19 situation worsened in the areas.
As the situation took a severe turn in Bangladesh at the beginning of April this year, the government declared a seven-day lockdown across the country from 5 April to control the surge of the virus.
After a two-day break, the country went into an eight-day strict lockdown from 14 April. Later, the lockdown was extended several times.
Lastly, on 16 June, the government extended the ongoing countrywide lockdown until 15 July as the Covid-19 infection rate remained alarming in the country.
Besides, the closure of the border with India has also been extended till 30 June as the Covid-19 situation in bordering districts keeps worsening.